Biggest prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, including Azov battalion fighters

In a surprise move, Russia and Ukraine on the night from Wednesday to Thursday (22 September) implemented the biggest prisoner exchange since the start of the war between them in February

Russia released over a hundred captured Ukrainian fighters in a prisoner exchange, including fighters from the Azov battalion. 

In numerical terms, the prisoner swap represents a major victory for Ukrainian morale. Among others, Ukraine got back three commanders who led the last Ukrainian resistance in the port city of Mariupol and over 100 more members of the battalion. A total of 215 Ukrainians have been released. Among them are policemen, border guards, soldiers and pregnant fighters. 

On the other side of the deal - brokered by Turkey and Saudi Arabia - are 55 Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians, as well as Ukrainian Kremlin-backed politician Medvedchuk. Putin's friend was arrested by Ukraine's secret service SBU in April in a "dangerous special operation".  

In a seperate move ten foreigners who were fighting for the Ukrainian side and were captured by the Russians, were released thanks to the mediation of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement the move was based on the support of Prince Mohammed and in continuation of his efforts to adopt humanitarian initiatives toward the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

The Saudi crown prince, who has continuously worked with global countries to mitigate the repercussions of the war, held successful mediations in releasing prisoners from Morocco, the US, UK, Sweden, and Croatia, where their release was part of a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine, it added.

“The relevant Saudi authorities received and transferred them from Russia to the Kingdom, and are facilitating procedures for their safe return to their respective countries,” the ministry added.

The ministry also expressed thanks and appreciation that the Russian and Ukrainian governments were able to cooperate with the Saudi government in facilitating and responding to the Saudi crown prince’s efforts to release the prisoners.

source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: Three Ukrainian commanders talk to President Zelensky by video link after the prisoner exchange. Reuters

Related articles

Editor's choice
News
Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell underlined that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process and to remain a committed partner to the Afghan people. "Of course, we will have to take into account the evolving situation, but disengagement is not an option.  We are clear on that: there is no alternative to a negotiated political settlement, through inclusive peace talks.
Opinion: Baku was left no other option but the military one

Since the closure of the Lachin road by Azerbaijan in response to an armed accident on 15 June 15 this year, tensions around the Armenian-populated area in Karabakh currently controlled by the Russian peacekeeping forces, have been brimming. The Armenian side launched a campaign of blaming Azerbaijan in enforcing a “blockade” of the region and even in committing “genocide” of the Karabakh Armenians.

dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 12:32

Popular

Opinion: Baku was left no other option but the military one

Since the closure of the Lachin road by Azerbaijan in response to an armed accident on 15 June 15 this year, tensions around the Armenian-populated area in Karabakh currently controlled by the Russian peacekeeping forces, have been brimming. The Armenian side launched a campaign of blaming Azerbaijan in enforcing a “blockade” of the region and even in committing “genocide” of the Karabakh Armenians.

dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 12:32